Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Truest statement of the week

The soon to be constructed Barack Obama Presidential Center poses a great danger to the surrounding Black neighborhoods on the South Shore of Chicago. In fact, thanks to this $500 million, 19-acre homage to the 44th president, there may not be any Black people living there much longer.

Families are already facing rent increases and homes that were once moderately priced are now unaffordable to Black working people. These market manipulations are integral to the gentrification model of urban development. The end result is always a displaced and dispersed Black population.

This crisis is but the latest Obama slap in the face to the people who loved him the most. His 2008 presidential campaign stump speeches were replete with the worst stereotypes about Black men. Who can forget his not very funny jokes about the imagined Cousin Pookie who wouldn’t get off the couch to vote. Obama avoided any mentions of Black people and their unique status with canned lines about rising tides lifting all the boats.

Of course the intent was to disappear Black people as a group and therefore make himself more palatable to white people. In his maiden speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention he declared, “There is no white America. There is no Black America.” He showed his hand early on and no one should have been surprised when he disappeared the needs of the Democratic Party’s most reliable voting block in order to gain political advantage.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "The Obama Presidential Center Will Displace Black People" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).





Truest statement of the week II

The commingling of funds is the latest contraction of President Biden’s repeated claims that he was unaware and uninvolved in past dealings by his son. Given these links, there are legitimate questions of why the Justice Department has not sought a special counsel in the ongoing investigation of alleged money-laundering and tax violations linked to the president’s son. More importantly, even if there are no criminal charges, there is now a compelling need for an independent report on the alleged influence peddling operation by Hunter, his uncle James Biden, and potentially his father, President Biden.

In the latest disclosures from the laptop, a former secret service agent reportedly texted Hunter on May 24, 2018, when he was holed up with a Russian prostitute in an expensive room at The Jeremy Hotel in Los Angeles. Hunter wired the woman $25,000. That alone was nothing out of the ordinary for Hunter who, while his father served as vice president, seemed to divide his time equally between influence-peddling and personal debaucheries.

Hunter clearly only had influence and access to sell. We know now that foreign interests gave Hunter millions at a time that he admits that he was a crack addict and alcoholic — in his words, “Drinking a quart of vodka a day by yourself in a room is absolutely, completely debilitating,” as well as “smoking crack around the clock.”

However, the tranche of emails raises a new and disturbing element: the possible mixing of accounts and funds between Hunter and his father. If true, President Biden could be directly implicated in ongoing investigations into his son’s money transfers and dealings.


-- Jonathan Turley, "Is it Time for a Special Counsel on the Hunter Biden Scandal?" (JONATHANTURLEY.ORG).



A note to our readers

Hey --

It's Monday night.

Let's thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?





-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.





Editorial: Collie was a War Hawk

War Criminal Colin Powell's dead.  You might have heard that from a Hollywood fat f**k who wanted to praise Colin -- same guy who molested his son by the way as his son reveals regularly in his 12-step group.

We point that out because you will know what to think of people by the way they speak of Colin.  Supposed leftists who praise him?  They're on the verge of hell themselves, just counting off the days until their own deaths.

The mushy middle?  Yeah, they never did anything for anyone.

The War Cheerleaders?  They'll do anything to try to brush the blood off their uniforms.

The War Hawks?  They know and lust after their own.

The dead in Iraq don't have the luxury of pretending that Colin Powell was a good guy.  They're dead because of him.

Colin was a War Criminal.  Now he's a dead War Criminal and we can rejoice over the fact that he's no longer walking among us.

Media: A Little More Conversation

"Laquesha Johnson knew two things: cunnilingus and how to dress butch.  Well she knew a third thing -- how to miss the damn point every time."  Were Jackie Collins still alive, that the could be the opening to THE WORLD IS FULL OF SILLY STUPIDS where she examined the con of gas bagging and the 'experts' who know so little. Sadly, Jackie passed away six years ago and we have no new novels from her.




But we need her.  We really, really need her.  We realized that as we watched a 'documentary' on NETFLIX.  The 'documentary' is entitled REMASTERED: THE TWO KILLINGS OF SAM COOKE and many parts are strong and worth watching.

None of those parts involve former NPR prattle-er and current BOSTON GLOBE staffer Renee Graham.  Time and again, she makes herself into a joke.

We recoiled in horror every time an 'observation' came out of her mouth.  

Example?  How about when she tells you that Sam was killed because the record label didn't want a Black man being political?

What world does she live in?

Does she honestly think Bruce Springsteen is political?  There's nothing at all political in embracing the status quo.  If your opinion is the opinion of the majority of the country, you're not being political, you're being safe and facile.  We long for real artists who would be on major labels but offer something real -- not just, "Vote for the Democratic! It's election time!"

In the early sixties (Sam was killed in 1964), there weren't a lot of political music acts, nor had there been.  The Weavers were 'political,' possibly.  They were signed to DECCA -- a major label -- and had hits throughout the fifties with inoffensive (and, honestly, bland) versions of "On Top Of Old Smokey" and "Goodnight Irene."  Bland and boring, they got 'cred' when two of their members were named as Communists -- Lee Hays (who took the 5th) and Pete Seeger (who pleaded the First Amendment).  This led to DECCA dropping the group and to the group being followed by the FBI while being banned from radio and TV.  What followed was a lot of suffering for many.  Not really for Pete, though -- remember he stole "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" and made a ton of money off of it.  When they were seen as truly political -- as Pete's previous group, The Almanac Singers -- has actually been -- the industry no longer needed or wanted them.

Who else has been some true political voice?  

Bob Dylan?  Bob doesn't really get a lot of support when he's political, in case you missed the attack THE NEW YORK TIMES delivered to ROUGH AND ROWDY WAYS.  That's this decade.  He was political in the early sixties but couldn't really get airplay until he moved away from political -- that's when he finally starts having his own top forty hits on radio.  .


So Bob doesn't prove Renee to be accurate.


There's Joan Baez.  She wasn't signed to a major label, however.  She was on VANGUARD.  And they could handle it when she got political as a result.  Her best selling albums in the sixties?  The three were not political albums (Malvina Reynold's "What Have They Done To The Rain?" is the closest to political that Joan gets).    Do not e-mail us that Joan Baez's ANY DAY NOW sold as well as her first three albums.  It did not.  The three were single-disc albums that went gold.  ANY DAY NOW was a double album and if it had sold as many copies as JOAN BAEZ and JOAN BAEZ VOL. 2 and JOAN BAEZ IN CONCERT, it would be platinum.  As a double record, it only had to sell 250,000 copies to go gold while the other three albums -- single disc albums -- sold (shipped) at least 500,000 to earn their gold status.  As Joan begins singing political songs -- Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Tim Hardin, etc -- her albums sales decrease.  For a small label like VANGUARD, she's still their biggest selling artist and her politics fit in with those of the man who owns the label so she's fine.  In the 70s, she'll switch to the semi-independent label A&M and when she goes political there, with the classic WHERE ARE YOU NOW, MY SON?, she nearly falls off the album charts -- 138 -- and that was due to A&M's lousy promotion and Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss being scared (in 1973!) of an anti-Vietnam War album.  It's be two albums and two years later before Joan made it back into BILLBOARD's top 100 (DIAMONDS & RUST made it to number 11).  

The Mamas and the Papas were 'freaks' and so were Sonny & Cher.  Even so, they weren't supposed to be political.  What happened when they were political?  Well when Sonny & Cher showed up at the Sunset Strip protests against police brutality on December 11, 1966, Monterey Park  (not Pasadena as some erroneously claim) pulled them from the city's New Year's Day Rose Parade (they were replaced by Buck Owens and it was Monterey Park  council person Rod Irvine who pulled them from the parade).  Mama Michelle Phillips was the target of a hit piece from TEEN magazine because she refused to wear a green beret for their cover photo.  And they were 'youth' artists.  They were on the younger side of the generation gap that existed at that time yet they were still expected to walk within the designated margins.

We're having a really hard time grasping what artist on a major label was allowed to express their politics because they weren't allowed to.  That's didn't happen in reality -- just in Renee's underdeveloped mind.

In more recent times, we've seen Sam Seder brow beat and humiliate Ani DiFranco to the point that she disowned the support she gave her 2000 presidential candidate Ralph Nader.  And Ani is the head of her own record label.  A supposed maverick, in fact.  But she, like Patti Smith, learned quickly, in the '00s, just what they were permitted to say and to do politically.

So spare us, Renee, your uniformed opinions that are completely worthless.

Does it matter?

Yes, it does.  We have, for example, attacked an act in a piece here a few years back.  We know the act.  We like the people in the act.  But what they did was wrong.  And the fact that it benefits 'our side' (the Democratic Party) didn't make it any less wrong.  Nor did the fact that we like the people make it any less wrong.  They called us a week after the piece went up here.  They wanted to talk face-to-face.  Fine.  We meant what we said and we stood by it.  We'd be happy to meet up but we weren't going to change what we wrote.  And we didn't.

We did here how, yes, our point was correct about the marginalized and, yes, they did agree with us.  But what we didn't understand was how hard it was not to toe the line that they were toeing and how the label that was interested in them (that they'd sign with after our conversation) had urged them to take the position -- a partisan position and one that went against free speech -- so they felt they had to do it.  

The act, at that point, could live off sales of their old albums in any format, sales via streaming of their old recordings, song writing royalties and -- something not every songwriter has -- publishing royalties.  They were not going to starve and they weren't even going to have to lower their standard of living if they didn't go along.  They made the choice to stay in the narrow lines they were being forced into.

We disagreed with them then and still do.  We are aware that interviews have been given since by the act where they make a point to embrace free speech and try to make clear where they stand on it.  The subject hasn't come up between us again, we're not raising it to them and they're not raising it to us and we still speak often.  

But it was a mistake.  And they knew it was a mistake at the time.  

So we're not in the mood for some ass who doesn't know one damn thing about the business to pontificate about how Sam Cooke wasn't allowed by his label to be 'political' because of his race.

No one is allowed to be political on a major label.  

No one is allowed to be political.

Despite that, you can be political.  Sam Cooke certainly proved it.  And may have paid the ultimate price for it.

It goes against the orthodoxy, but we wouldn't be surprised if he were murdered.  Not at all surprised.

We are surprised when we hear, in the documentary, that Allen Klein couldn't have been responsible because he didn't have that kind of power.  Huh?

Various talking heads in the 'documentary' talk about the mob and blah blah blah.  Does no one know of Allen Klein's mob connections?  We didn't know we were the only ones who did.  It was those mob connections that allowed him to take on the mobbed-up Morris Levy -- a man so into the mob that, in the 1970s, John Lennon feared Levy.    If you're arguing that organized crime was involved in killing Sam Cooke, look no further than Allen Klein.  Also drop the nonsense about "Allen loved Sam!"  Yeah, Allen pretended to love a lot of artists.  He didn't love them, he just loved stealing from them -- ask Mick Jagger.  

And let's talk about motive.  Sam was getting increasingly political and there was the money issue.  Allen stole from all the artists he represented including Sam.  Did no one behind this 'documentary' -- these supposed experts on Sam Cooke -- see 2019's LADY YOU SHOT ME: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SAM COOKE?  That documentary makes clear that, as it was being edited in 2019, Sam Cooke's estate had not received a single dime in royalties from Sam's supposed corporation -- all that money went to Allen and, when Allen died (2009), it went to Allen's estate.

That's motive.

And to the claim in the NETFLIX 'documentary' that Allen couldn't have pulled it off -- which part?  He was connected to the mafia and he could easily have arranged everything.  Sam was wanting to start  his own label and was ignoring the mafia's demand that he not do that.  They knew Allen and Allen knew them.   Seems like mutual interest among the two parties could have easily led to a murder.  And getting the police to look the other way?  Not all that difficult.

It's in part because Sam was African-American, yes.  But that's not all of it.

Who killed Marilyn Monroe?

That she was murdered has been an industry truism long before Anthony Summers published GODDESS: THE SECRET LIVES OF MARILYN MONROE.  Everyone believed it, everyone talked about it, Mickey Rooney, Frank Sinatra, Jeanne Martin (Dean Martin's wife) . . .


Maybe she wasn't murdered. But a lot of people believed it then and a lot more people believe it today.  And Marilyn Monroe was a lot more famous than any singer of her time with the exceptions of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.  And as famous as she is, lies were told about her death from the beginning.  The FBI seized her toll slips (records of her phone calls).  The press lied that she was despondent over her 'failed' career.  (She stood to make millions off proposed international films and she had also been rehired for SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE -- remember, it was being fired from that film that supposedly had her so depressed that she took her own life.)  They lied, as late as the 80s, that she died on the phone speaking to her father.  AP and UPI carried that nonsense into the mid-80s and we are always surprised few bother to bring that up.  And, certainly, they lied to protect JFK and RFK, insisting that Marilyn slept with neither -- when she slept with both.  It's not hard to get people to look the other way -- especially when doing so is the easy path.

Just as people in the industry spoke what they thought was the truth about Marilyn, Etta James long maintained that Sam was murdered and not because he showed up half-dressed at a motel counter. 


It could be true.  Etta was a wise woman.  


But Renee isn't.


Every time she wants to make a point, she seems to go to, "It happened because he was a Black man."

And that's a view.  She's entitled to it.  It doesn't help anyone though.


That's one thing that we agree strongly with WSWS about.  That failing to grasp societal constructs besides race limits our understanding.   Now we give a little more credence to racial issues than WSWS and certainly more to female issues and to LGBTQ issues.

We probably need to explain that to those who don't read WSWS.  Like most left sites, they're semi-committed to race issues -- at least as far as it applies to African-American issues.  The sixties made it clear that the left had to give a damn -- or give lip service to that effect -- about race.

So, while often dismissing certain racism issues as 'identity politics,' WSWS will take some issues related to race seriously.  It will not take women seriously -- that is what inspired the radical wave of feminism (lefty groups -- including college groups -- not taking women seriously) -- and WSWS is still in the closet about its own inherent homophobia.  That's the left at large, that's WSWS.  

Thank goodness for #MeToo -- otherwise WSWS might never notice women.

Pretend, if you can, not to notice that women rarely write for WSWS.  Pretend, if you can, that female music artists aren't ignored by WSWS -- this as they rush to rave over the latest drool from Bruce Springsteen.  Pretend, if you can, that their hatred of MeToo isn't based on their natural hatred of any women who want more out of life than to sit across from a man repeating over and over, "You are so right.  So right.  How did you get to be so smart?  I am so lucky to be in the same room with you."

They can't address inequality in society because they can't even address it in their own offices.

LGBTQ persons?  For WSWS, none of those people exist unless they're standing before the Supreme Court.  That's pretty much the only way that WSWS manages to ever cover the LGBTQ community.  It's never, for example, concerned about the large number of  murders targeting the transgendered community -- at least 39 this year, at least 37 in 2020, at least 25 in 2019, at least 22 in 2018 . . .  And these are people who were murdered.  Meaning?  If you bring in assault, if you bring in those who have been beaten up because they are transgendered, the numbers grow even higher.  

But that's not an issue to WSWS.

MeToo has brought a little attention to women from WSWS -- in the form of scolding and scoffing and dismissing.  

MeToo should have started a national dialogue.  We think it did and we think we've engaged in it here.  For example, we're all for any person stepping forward to tell their story of assault.  The years of MeToo also mean that we've made clear that we're not required to believe anyone coming forward.  But, most of all, we won't believe anyone who 'comes forward' by hiding out.  Bob Dylan's accuser?  If you're going to accuse someone of assaulting you and you want the support of other people, step forward, stop hiding.  Until you do, don't expect us to believe you.  

If you can't tell your own story, we'll be of the opinion that you don't have a story to tell.


We've been very clear, and we're not alone on this, that the idiot who went out on one date with Aziz Ansari and went down on him multiple times and let him go down on her multiple times and then decided she had 'doer's remorse' is not anyone we care to support.  You weren't raped, you weren't assaulted.  You gladly and willingly engaged in the activities and then, a day after, you want to claim assault?  No, it doesn't work that way, not to us.  

MeToo has allowed us to make clear that we are rational people.  And that we will use our brains and common sense and decide who we will or won't believe based upon the stories that someone tells.  And if your story has a backstory -- for example, you and your friends tried to force another person into lying for you to Congress -- we're not going to believe you.

Can someone who's been assaulted or raped change their stories?  Absolutely.

And here we get a little upset with the feminist orthodoxy which notes that you can remember details over time or they can deepen or .

You know what, that's true. Here's another truth that we should all grasp as feminists: Women smooth over.  We try to put the happy face on -- for ourselves and for others.  Charlie Rose nearly raped you in 1978?  It's perfectly natural for you, in 1982, to say you had a bad experience with Charlie Rose or even to say nothing about Charlie Rose.  You're just trying to get through the day.  Equally true, you're gauging not just the response of whom you're speaking with, you're gauging your own response.  Am I going to be able to sleep tonight if I go into everything, every detail?  

When Tara Reade was speaking out, we noted repeatedly that the 'experts' the media needed to bring on were not men who had worked in Joe Biden's office (we're looking at you, PBS) but experts on assault and rape.  And we noted that for all the brief coverage that took place on television and in newspapers, only CSPAN brought on a survivor's advocate to speak..

We do not believe everyone who comes forward.  We do not believe every women (some men have come forward in the spirit of MeToo -- we believe and support Anthony Edwards 100%). We believe Rose McGowan.  We believe many people.

But we don't have to believe all.  We know one 'victim' who wants to insist Harvey Weinstein assaulted her.  Did he?  She really isn't his type.  Could he have assaulted her?  It's possible since this woman did sleep around for roles.  We know that because she slept with a friend of ours.  Most people know that this actress slept with the woman for a film role so Harvey possibly knew as well and, yes, he could have come on to her.  Her story doesn't ring true to us for a number of reasons.  (It doesn't ring true to most people -- including the court.)

MeToo should not have resulted in a response of "I will, from this day forward, turn off my brain and automatically believe any claim of assault presented."  

A dialogue has taken place because of MeToo and, while WSWS has refused to engage, we've been part of the dialogue.  We've drawn our lines (if you think rape is "sexy," we don't rush to defend you and we think you've got some nerve claiming to have been raped and then making such a stupid remark -- on live television, no less).  The dialogue has been about navigating this issue.  


That's what life is: Navigation.  


It's how we grow and explore.  


Tucker Carlson pops off about Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg paternity leave and saying Pete was "trying to figure out how to breast feed" and, suddenly, a lot of people want to scream "homophobia."  Was it?  Was it an attempt at bottom shaming (we assume Pete is the top in his relationship but we could be wrong)?  Was it sexism -- i.e. breast feeding is something women do so let's mock it?  


Who knows?  Maybe all of it and more or none of it.  What we got when we streamed the clip was Tucker seemed very fascinated by breast feeding.  He seemed so fascinated that we had to wonder if he had some sort of envy?  

If so, Tucker, do you not know that babies can latch on men as well?  No, Tucker, it's highly unlikely at this point in time that someone who was male at birth could breast feed, but a baby can latch onto a man's nipple.  At THE GUARDIAN in 2005, Joanna Moorhead covered this issue:

It's a question that has united Aristotle, Darwin and my three-year-old in puzzlement: what exactly are male nipples for ? This week, the charity Fathers Direct came up with an answer, courtesy of some research it unearthed about a nomadic tribe of African hunter-gatherers. The answer, it seems, is the one my three-year-old (and Darwin, to be fair) suspected all along: male nipples are there as a stand-in for when mum isn't around and there's a squawking bambino in dire need of something to suck.
And, when you think about it, why ever not? Surely a male nipple, deficient though it is in terms of sustenance, gives a more pleasant sucking sensation than, say, a dummy.
That's certainly how it seemed to Professor Barry Hewlett, an American anthropologist who was the first person to spot male breastfeeding among the Aka Pygmy people of central Africa (total population around 20,000) after he decided to live alongside them in order to study their way of life more closely. By the time he noticed that babies were sometimes being suckled by their fathers, it wasn't as stunning a revelation, however, as it might have been had he spotted it going on in the breastfeeding room at Mothercare in Manchester.

No offense to Pete but we don't see him sexually.  That's our failure, we're sure.  We don't see Tucker sexually either.  But it would be cute -- and even sexy -- to see some guy we find hot with a baby latched onto a nipple.  Babies suck on pacifiers for comfort and they know nothing's coming out liquid wise.  So why not a photo of Tyler Hoechlin with a baby attached to his nipple?

Tucker's own four children are far too old but -- Tucker, there's hope for you yet -- he could certainly volunteer to by some baby's dry nurse.

And maybe he should do that because, clearly, watch his face when he talks about it, Tucker's expressing some serious envy and longing.  Should he just inform Susan that he needs a little nipple play in the bedroom?

And what would that conversation be an example of?  That's right: Navigating.


Again, it's how we learn, it's how we understand ourselves and others.  It's how we understand the world around us.  There are plus sides to NETFLIX's  REMASTERED: THE TWO KILLINGS OF SAM COOKE.  It could do with a little better understanding of the mafia ind the recording industry.  Maybe they could read Jackie Collins' ROCKSTAR, watch season two of Stephen J. Cannell's  WISEGUY or just talk to Bette Midler if they wanted to learn more about the mafia and the recording industry?  

We're bothered by Renee and her simplistic answers.  Simplistic rarely gets you to information.  Challenging orthodoxy often does.  REMASTERED: THE TWO KILLINGS OF SAM COOKE would have been a lot stronger if the documentary came off even slightly aware of 2019's LADY YOU SHOT ME: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF SAM COOKE.  You can become aware of it.  You can watch it on AMAZON -- for free if you're an AMAZON PRIME member.  And you should.  We need more information, not less.  If we all accepted orthodoxy and refused to question, people would still believe the world was flat.   


Jim: Roundtable time again. .  Remember our e-mail address is thethirdestatesundayreview@yahoo.com.  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.



Jim (Con't): Let's start with Marcia. Marcia, THE LAST DUEL crashed and burned at the box office. You were hoping for that in "Matt Damon and his queer-baiting,"  How are you feeling?

Marcia: Praise Jesus, praise Jesus.

Jim: You really loathe Matt Damon.

Marcia: I do. And it includes his queer baiting as well as his long history and the stunt he pulled this summer where he gave an interview to THE TIMES OF LONDON stating that he was having dinner recently with his family and he was tossing around the f-word when his daughter told him the word was unacceptable. He dismissed her -- according to him -- and she gave him a presentation on how that was hurtful and unacceptable so he stopped using the f-word. Then he got flack for it --

Betty: As he should have.

Marcia: -- an he then tried to say, oh no, that's not what I said. Whatever. What a liar.

Ty: And he does do the queer baiting. Whenever he's trying to sell a movie it's time for him to act like he's gay or he might be gay or he might do something gay. So for THE LAST DUEL it was, "Ben and I wrote a kiss for this movie at the end but didn't film it." Who cares? Just shut up, Matt. He's really become so annoying. He might have been okay if it was 1992 but time moved on even though he didn't.

Jim: I'm really getting hatred for him. And that's fine. But is it just about this or are there other things?

Rebecca: He's thick necked and short and people keep claiming he's a movie star when he isn't. His name doesn't sell tickets. Long ago, C.I. established that at THE COMMON ILLS. She even noted that BOURNE got more popular with each film indicating that people avoided it when it was just a Matt Damon film. He can't fill a movie theater. He's not popular. And people continue to call him a movie star when he's never been that.

Stan: I would agree and I would say that two strikes in a row might end his film career -- his summer film and now this -- but he's had so many flops and it's never stopped him. He's Patrick Dempsey in that he starred in one flop film after another. Let's be clear that he does not deliver at the box office and he's irritating. He went through that whole phase of 'why do people say I'm gay!' not that long ago.

Elaine: Why? Well they're joking but maybe they joke because you go on WILL & GRACE and say you're dating your high school boyfriend Ben. Maybe that's why?

Ty: And all the queer baiting. Which we tolerated, gay men tolerated. We did so because we thought he was a friend. Now, years later, we learn that he was using the f-word and so comfortable with it that he had no problem using it at the dinner table around his own young children. I mean, go away, Matt, go far, far away.

Trina: To be clear, no one feels this way about Ben Affleck, none of us here. But Ben's a lot more laid back in public and has yet to give an interview whining that some people think he's gay. Ben has a lot more common sense than Matt and Ben actually has been a movie star.

Cedric: I would agree with that. And the films Ben's made that were bad -- like REIGNDEER GAMES -- they usually have something that makes them worthwhile.

Ann: I'll go ahead and say it, Cedric and I have both grown fond of GIGLI over the years.


Betty: PAYCHECK. And when Ben's in a film, he's better than Matt which is obvious when they're in the same film. DOGMA? Ben has presence. Matt's the short guy that you wish would get out of the way so you could see more of Ben.

Jim: C.I.?

C.I.: I know both of them personally. I like Ben and I long ago gave up on Matt.

Ava: He's as irritating in real life as he is interviews.

Ruth: If George Clooney were the leader of a new rat pack, Matt would be damn lucky to be the Joey Bishop of the group.

Jim: Okay. Okay. Let's see. Iraq held elections. Thoughts?

Jess: I don't blame the voters for being apathetic. Over half of the registered voters refused to vote. I forget the percentage.

C.I.: As of Monday, they're stating that 43% voted. If that's correct. I'm saying what they're stating because I haven't done my own math. If that figure is correct, then 57% of registered voters elected not to vote.

Jess: I don't blame them.

Elaine: They've never been treated like citizens, not by their own government. They suffer to this day and that's just with regards to the basic services like electricity and water you can actually drink.

Trina: And the current prime minister --

C.I.: Mustafa al-Khadmi.

Trina: Thank you. He has done nothing to protect the young people of The October Revolution. They began protesting in the fall of 2019 and they were attacked by the government's security forces. They were wounded. They were killed. They were kidnapped. They were disappeared. This forced the sitting prime minister out. C.I.?

C.I.: Hayder al-Abadi.

Trina: Thank you. And Mustafa comes in as the new prime minister with all these promises about protecting the protesters and he doesn't. The kidnappings and killing continue. He does nothing to protect them or to protect the people. He acts like he's afraid of the militias.

Ruth: I would 100% agree with that. And it is awful how those young people have been treated. They are standing against corruption and pulling for a better Iraq. They need applause, they need support. They get none.

Wally: They really don't even get attention from the US.

Isaiah: They sure as hell don't. I mean, that Iranian thug that Donald Trump killed? He was treated by CODESTINK and others like a wonderful man -- a poet, they insisted. No, a thug. A thug who went after young people who were protesting for a better country. And, let's point this out, these were young adults but there were also some children present at these protests -- people under the age of 18. But to thugs that didn't matter. And I am appalled by CODESTINK but even I would never have believed that they would turn a killer of young people into a saint. For shame. For shame.

Marcia: I wish our country had supported the protesters.

Wally: But our government wouldn't even step up to the plate and say, "Stop killing these young people."

Marcia: No, they wouldn't.

Mike: C.I.'s had this point for some time that it's like the US government's goal is to exhaust the Iraqi people. Like if the US military just stays on the ground long enough, at some point the Iraqi people will all forget about what they had before the 2003 invasion and just accept the system and the leaders the US has imposed upon them.

Jess: Yeah, I can see that possibility too. Don't think it will happen but, yeah, the US government is stupid enough to believe it might.

Dona: I cannot believe that Jess, Jim, Ty, Ava and I were in college when this site started and we thought the Iraq War would be over before we graduated. Ava and I have children now. And the war is still going on. It's outrageous.

Ruth: And people seem to have accepted that as the norm, in the United States, people seem to have accepted it.

Elaine: Well that's in part because a lot of whores and hustlers tricked the people. Leslie Cagan and her nonsense of United for Peace and Justice and their decision, a day after the 2008 election to close shop because Barack Obama was elected president. They're whores. They don't care about peace and justice and they don't care about the Iraqi people.

Mike: It's funny to remember who used to grandstand on the war and acted like they gave a damn, they really gave a damn and watch them today. The Laura Flanders, the Norman Solomons, all the fake asses.

Betty: I feel like we owe the Iraqi people an apology for this war. I also feel we owe them an apology for all the Americans who walked away from the ongoing tragedy instead of demanding that US troops be pulled.

Jim: What happens when US troops leave?

Dona: The propped up government probably collapses.

Ty: I would agree with that. And I'm okay with that. This isn't the government the people wanted. Let them create their own government. Killings and kidnappings are taking place constantly so stop pretending the current system is good or necessary. It really is as though the US government is trying to run out the clock on Iraqi memories and resistance with the hope that, at some point, they'll just go along with whatever the US wants.

Cedric: No offense to anyone here. but I don't want to be here 10 years from now still having this conversation about how US troops need to leave Iraq. That needs to happen now. We need to be demanding it now. I can't believe how misleaders have pulled focus from an ongoing war.

Betty: Amen.

Jim: Okay, on that note, we'll wind down. This is a rush transcript. Our best e-mail address is common_ills@yahoo.com.

Jim's Corner



Ava and C.I. don't ask me to fact check their articles.  They don't need a fact checker.  They nail their stuff down, as they noted in "TV: Can we Impeach WSWS?," Hillary Clinton was not accurate about 'the vast right-wing conspiracy' as Patrick Martin maintained recently in WSWS.  Hillary used that phrase on THE TODAY SHOW when Matt Lauer spoke to her on the January 28, 1998 episode.

Monica Lewisnky, or rather 'claims' that she had an affair with Bill Clinton, is what Hillary's addressing.  Stream it for yourself.  Bill did not have a sexual relationship with Monica, Hillary maintains.  He may or may not have given Monica gifts, but he gives everyone gifts, she wants you to know.  As for Bill Richardson giving her a UN job interview and Vernon Jordan setting up two job interviews for her, well . . .

CLINTON: I don’t know the circumstances of any of that, Matt. I think that—you know, I just can’t describe to you how outgoing and friendly Vernon Jordan is. I mean, when he stood up and said what I believe to be the absolute truth, that he has helped literally hundreds of people—and it doesn’t matter who they are. And if he were asked to help somebody, he would help that person. I’ve seen him do it countless times.  So I guess I know the people involved. I know them personally. I know them well. I’ve known Vernon longer than I’ve known my husband.

LAUER: So when people say there’s a lot of smoke here, your message is where there’s smoke...

CLINTON: There isn’t any fire, because think of what we’ve been through for the last six years and think of everything we’ve been accused of. And you know, initially, when this first started, and I would be accused of something or my husband would be accused of something, I would be really upset. And I would want to rush out, and I’d say, that’s not true. And then somebody would nit pick and say, well, what about this? I would say, well, I hadn’t thought about that. And then I’d rush around, I’d say, well, that’s not true.

LAUER: Are you saying that you no longer—this doesn’t upset you anymore? You’re almost numb to it?

CLINTON: It’s not being numb so much as just being very experienced in the unfortunate, mean-spirited give-and-take of American politics right now. So having seen so many of these accusations come and go, having seen people profit, you know, like Jerry Falwell, with videos, accusing my husband of murder, of drug running, seeing some of the things that are written and said about him, my attitude is, you know, we’ve been there before, we have seen this before.


This is the vast right-wing conspiracy, Hillary wants you to know.  Bill's told the truth, no sexual relations with that woman, Hillary wants you to know.

Bill lied.  And Patrick Martin was a fool to write what he did.

Ava and C.I. 

They do it nail it down, like they stated.



But I do like to check.  Maybe I think, or hope, I'm going to catch them in a mistake.  So when they were writing about Bob Dylan in their latest piece, I went over to WIKIPEDIA -- or as they call it CRAPAPEDIA -- to check some basics.  


They're right, first of all, it truly is CRAPAPEDIA.  In the ROUGH AND ROWDY WAYS section of Bob Dylan's bio, this appears:


This made it Dylan's highest-charting album on the Billboard 200 in more than a decade. It also marked his seventh consecutive decade of charting top 40 albums, making him the only artist to date to accomplish this feat.[112]



I found that interesting and mentioned it to Ava and C.I. who immediately (and rightly) guessed that I had been to CRAPAPEDIA.  

Not true, insisted one, Barbra Streisand has done the same thing now that RELEASE ME 2 has been released.

So not true, said the other, and check the footnote, if that's BILLBOARD, there's no way BILLBOARD said he was "the only artist."

CRAPAPEDIA or Ava and C.I.?  Bet on Ava and C.I. every time.

Yes, Barbra did go into the top forty on the album chart this decade with RELEASE ME and, as they've noted before, Barbra and Bob were COLUMBIA RECORDS sign-ees back in the early sixties.  So, yes, they've both charted top forty albums in all seven decades -- Barbra more so than Bob and Barbra's outsold Bob.  Yes, they are right that BILLBOARD did not say "only.'' (Yeah, the footnote goes to BILLBOARD.)  It said "the first" and it pointed out "He’s the first act to have achieved at least one top 40 album in each decade from the ‘60s through ‘20s. (The 2020s decade is still young, so a number of other acts could join him in this achievement.)"

So, yes, it is CRAPAPEDIA.

And we've long noted it here.  C.I. brought that issue in our orbit early on.  A friend of hers, a singer, was appalled when she checked out her own WIKIPEDIA entry.  Was her profession singer?  According to WIKIPEDIA, it was slut.  

Every man she had slept with was mentioned in her entry.  These same men, many of whom had slept with many more women, didn't have that in their entries.  She looked around and found this true of all the women of her time period -- that the entries portrayed them as sluts.  C.I.'s friend threatened WIKIPEDIA with a law suit.  That's why it changed.  But before it changed, we started calling it out.  It has always been a sexist platform and remains one to this day.


Give Bob Dylan credit for what he's accomplished, yes, but do that for anyone.  And that means noting that he's not the only one.  That means noting that Barbra Streisand has also accomplished this feat. 

It's also kind of limited as I realized when I told Ava and C.I. they were right.

Of course, said one, and Cher will have the same record if she releases an album this decade.  She's already charted at least one album in the six previous decades.

The other declared,  You do realize -- even if CRAPAPEDIA doesn't -- that's there's a whole world out there beyond pop music, don't you?  Meaning Diana Ross is most likely about to be  in her  "seventh consecutive decade of charting top 40 albums" on the R&B chart -- 21 albums hitting the top 40 on the R&B charts in the sixties, 15 in the seventies, 11 in the 80s, 1 in the 90s, 1 in the 00s and 1 in the 10s. Next month's THANK YOU is released and, based on pre-orders, it stands a good chance of giving her another top forty album -- this one in her seventh decade.

That's "If The World Just Danced" from Diana's upcoming THANK YOU album.

 Like the song says, Yeah, we'd be better if the world just danced.  :D








KINDLE UNLIMITED (Isaiah, Ava and C.I.)



In 2018, community sites took turns covering a book every week.  You can see "In 2018, we read books" to review that coverage.  We didn't want to repeat ourselves in 2019 or 2020.  So when Marcia came up with a way to cover books but with a twist, we were all for it.  Marcia's idea was for us to digital books -- we're largely a printed text crowd -- and to use AMAZON's KINDLE UNLIMITED.  So for 2021, we'll be trying to do a book a week and trying to just use KINDLE UNLIMITED. This week, we're speaking with Isaiah about his "BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN."

So you went with a comic book or a graphic novel for this review and there were problems viewing it?

Isaiah: Yes, I could see the page as a page on my laptop screen; however, half the time when I tried to enlarge a panel, it wouldn't work.  It was frustrating.

And the comic book itself?

Isaiah: I was impressed with the graphics, the drawing, the shading, the use of color that Tim Ssle created.  The narrative by Jeph Loeb involved a lot of characters but he kept it straight and easy to follow.  Among the additional characters?  Catwoman, Joker, Harvey Dent, Commissioner Gordon and Barbara Gordon.  

So you would recommend it?

Isaiah: Yes, I would.  It's not really a 'Halloween'' story, it uses that holiday and others throughout the storyline.  

Due to the problems you had with getting illustrations to enlarge, would you recommend any other comic books or graphic novels?

Isaiah: No, I would advise people to consider each time that the enlargement option may or may not work.  And, at this point, if graphic novels or comics are what you'd be getting KINDLE UNLIMITED for, I would say it's not worth it.




"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Kat, Ava and C.I.)"


" KINDLE UNLIMITED (Trina, Ava and C.I.)"


 "KINDLE UNLIMITED (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)"


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Ruth, Ava and C.I.)"


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Jess, Ava and C.I.)"


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Jim, Ava and C.I.)"


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Kat, Ava and C.I.)"


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Kat, Ava and C.I.)"


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Betty, Ava and C.I.)

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Stan, Ava and C.I.)


"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Betty, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Isaiah, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Elaine, Dona, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Mike, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Trina, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Stan, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Marcia, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Kat, Ava and C.I.)"

"KINDLE UNLIMITED (Rebecca, Ava and C.I.)"






How Iraq's electoral commission fed mistrust in the election

C.I. covering another aspect of the Iraq elections.

A failed state walks into a bar and meets a failed press

Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) reports, "The Iraqi electoral commission announced the official preliminary results of the Iraqi parliamentary elections late Saturday night, following the manual recount of votes from thousands of polling stations." 

So that's what they announced, now let's deal with reality.  The same commission announced ahead of the elections (last Sunday), that they would announce the results the following day.  That would have been Monday.  There was no reason to have made such an announcement or such an absurd claim.  But they made it.  And they didn't keep it.  

And I wondered if we were the only ones paying attention but, no, Mina al-Orabi of THE NATIONAL demonstrated that at least one other person was paying attention.

The Commission shouldn't have made the promise to begin with but they did.  They told the Iraqi people it would be done on Monday and it wasn't.  They did this in an environment of distrust.  Going into the election, in the months leading up, it was known that a growing distrust of the government was going to lead to a depressed turnout.  It was known.  The last thing needed was for any other government body to make a promise that they couldn't keep.  In this environment, the commission made a promise that it should have known (and probably did know) it couldn't keep.

That was dangerous, that was stupid and it was uncalled for.

Outside of Iraq, if most people even know the above, that's all they likely know.  But if you live in Iraq, you know a lot more.  More than we could ever, ever list.  But we'll note one more thing.  Three years ago, there was parliamentary election in Iraq.  The results were hotly contested.  The commission promised a manual recount.  Any of this sounding familiar because, for some reason, western outlets have amnesia and are stupidly unaware of it.  So there was going to be a manual recount.  How did that turn out?

It didn't.

The commission halted it.  Half the ballots were in a Baghdad warehouse that just happened to catch fire meaning no complete manual recount could be done.

In this environment, you do not make a promise you can't keep.

But there's no accountability in Iraq.  

And it's not just the government that fails to be accountable.  It's the western press.

Everyone noting the election in the west should be noting basic things like this.  But they refuse to.

Instead, they go with nonsense like Moqtada al-Sadr "won."  That's strange because in past elections, many other candidates got more seats in parliament than Moqtada's bloc did.  And they weren't called the winners.  

No, we were told, unless they were a sitting prime minister, that they weren't winners.  They just got the most votes.  And now they'd have to compete with others because now was the scramble to form a government.

But somehow, even though that scramble is still on, that's not what the press goes with.

What happens when a failed state meets a failed press?  Look no further than Iraq.

The following sites updated:

Talk World Radio: Margaret Kimberley on Powell, Obama, and Assange







Death of a War Criminal : Roundtable Mondays for Oct 18th






Kurds in Iraq's recent election

C.I. covers the winner among the Kurdish parties in the below:

Iraq snapshot

 Monday, October 18, 2021.   Which political party got the most votes in Iraq's elections?  Reading the coverage in the western media, you'd never know.  On top of that, War Criminal Colin Powell has left this earth for another plane where ever those responsible for millions of deaths go.

Two Sundays ago, October 10th, Iraq held elections and ahead of the election?  We got a lot of garbage from the western press passed off as analysis.  After the election?  It appears we'll continue to get the same.

Fan fiction is not reporting.  Tim Russert may be dead but his non-journalism lives on and on.  The useless gas baggery ahead of the election from the western media produced nothing of value and the gas baggery that they offered post-election produced nothing either.

A real take away from the election?

The PUK is far from being a dominant party in the Kurdistan.

In fact, the results are in and the strongest political party in Iraq appears to be the KDP currently.  

For decades, the PUK was a dominant party.  In 1947, the KDP was founded in Iraq -- Kurdistan Democratic Party.  The Talabanis did not feel they had enough power within the KDP so they broke off in 1975 and founded the PUK.  Following that, the Kurdistan had two dominant parties: the KDP and the PUK.  They were still dominant in the early years after the 2093 US-led invasion of Iraq.  This changed slowly and many couldn't interpret -- or even register -- the shifts that were going on.  I have no dog in the fight so maybe that's why we saw what was happening when, even now, various US 'experts' can't see what's taken place.

Let's drop back to March 16, 2009:

The president of Iraq is Jalal Talabani who announced over the weekend (Friday to Iran's Press TV, actually) that he would not be seeking another term (his term expires in December of this year -- provided elections are held). Talabani has serious heart problems (compounded by the fact that he refuses to listen to doctor's orders -- leading to the infamous collapse at a US bookstore hours after being released from doctor's care). Alsumaria reports Talabani is in Turkey today for a conference on water and has already "met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the presence of South Korean Prime Minister." AFP notes the conference is held every three years and is more 'timely' this year following the United Nation's report (published last week) declaring a "global water crisis". AFP states approximately "20,000 people are expecte for the Fifth World Water Forum" while is a week-long conference. DPA adds, "In addition to discussions on how to stop Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) militants from using their bases in mountainous northern Iraq from where they launch attacks on Turkey proper, Talabani and Erdogan also discussed bilateral economic issues and the Middle East peace process."

Meanwhile Hurriyet reports:

Talabani told a Turkish newspaper in an interview published on Monday that it would not be realistic to believe that an independent Kurdish state could survive as it is likely that neighboring countries Turkey, Iran and Syria would close their borders.

"I tell my Turkish brothers not to fear that Kurds will declare independence. It is an advantage for Kurds to stay within the borders of Iraq in terms of their economic, cultural, social and political interests," he told in the interview.

Sabah got the interview and they quote Talabani stating, "Iraq will not be separated and the civil war is over" and "The ideal of a united Kurdistan is just a dream written in poetry. I do not deny that there are poems devoted to the notion of a united Kurdistan. But we can not continue to dream." If accurate, Talabani's remarks will spark anger among some Kurds. And it may be a great deal of anger and it may be among many Iraqi Kurds.

In the western press, Jalal's remarks got scant attention.  We returned to them over and over because they do matter to the Kurdish people.  They mattered then and they mattered now.  The Kurds are the largest ethnic group in the world without a homeland.  The closest to one is the semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq, the Krudistan.  Kurds there -- and many Kurds around the world -- see that as the best hope for an independent homeland.  And there was Jalal spitting on a dream carried by so many.  It wasn't minor.  It was also reflective of the conniving that the Talabanis would do -- convincing against the Kurdish people.

We'll get to it.  For now, let's note that Jalal's declaration not to seek another term as president was as worthless as everything else he ever uttered.  He did seek it -- much to the misfortune of the the Kurds and of all Iraqis.

His second term made clear that the Talaanis and the PUK didn't give a damn about the Kurds or the dreams of the Kurdish people.  2012 saw the effort to force Nouri al-Maliki out as prime minister via Constitutional means.  Shi'ites -- including Moqtada al-Sadr -- worked with Sunnis and with the Kurds and gathered enough signatures from members of Parliament to force a vote of confidence.  

Where were Jalal's loyalties?  With his own country or with the US?  With the US.  Jalal, per the Constitution, had the ceremonial duty of reading the petition into the record in a meeting of Parliament.  Instead, under pressure from then-Vice President Joe Biden (the US wanted Nouri to remain prime minister) Jalal created powers not in the Constitution.  It was his duty, he insisted, to verify the signatures.  But he didn't just ask, "Did you sign this?"  No, he asked if they would sign it today if it was put in front of them.  And, he claimed, a large number said that they would not.  He claimed.  

The way it works is that they get enough signatures on the petition, it is read into the record and then Parliament votes.  So if, indeed, any had changed their hearts, that's fine.  They could vote in favor of keeping Nouri.  But Jalal created the 'would you sign it today' nonsense and his baseless claim that there were enough who wouldn't sign it that it wouldn't have enough signatures.

Baseless?  Those working to oust Nouri had to show their work.  Jalal didn't.  He gave no figures, he gave no names.  Just take his word for it, he said, as he darted out of Iraq for an emergency surgery in Germany.

There was no new emergency surgery.  He had elective knee surgery.  He lied because the Iraqi people were outraged and furious and he didn't want to face their wrath.  If you read the garbage of Patrick Cockburn that was hailed as 'reporting,' this is all new to you so I should point out that the no confidence vote was a result of Nouri going back on the US-brokered Erbil Agreement.  Nouri lost the 2010 election.  But he refused to step down.  Joe Biden was in charge of Iraq -- Barack Obama put him in charge.  The Erbil Agreement was cooked up by the US government.  All the political leaders signed off on it.  It gave Nouri a second term as prime minister.  Not for free.  In exchange, Nouri agreed to give each political bloc various things.  The Kurds wanted Article 150 of the Constitution implemented, for example.  Nouri agreed to do so.  

He never was going to.  In his first term, the Constitution mandated that he implement it but he refused to do so.  He pretended he was going to honor The Erbil Agreement and used it to be named prime minister-designate.  Ayad Allawi, who actually won that election, suspected Nouri was lying and his alliance walked out of the Parliament the same day Nouri was named prime minister-designate.  Then US President Barack called Allawi and pleaded with him to get his members back into Parliament.  He gave his word to Allawi that The Erbil Agreement had the full backing of the US government.

Barack lied.

With regards to the Kurds, he claimed he needed a month to implement 150 and then, with everyone looking elsewhere, he never implemented it and, a few months later, he announced through his spokesperson that the contract was illegal -- the one that made him prime minister -- and that now that he was prime minister he would not be following it or honoring it. 

This is what led to the push for a vote of no confidence.  And throughout that push, Moqtada repeatedly and publicly stated that Nouri could end the movement to remove him by just implementing the 2010 Erbil Agreement as he had legally promised to do.

Jalal stabbed everyone in the back when he decided that Joe Biden was more important than the Kurds or Iraq itself.  What goes around comes around and Joe Biden should pay attention here: at the end of the first half of 2012, Jalal lied about his health and rushed off to Germany.  At the end of the year, he'd be rushing off again and this time for a real health emergency.

In 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.  He remained there for a year and a half.  He was incapacitated.  But the Talabani family lied to everyone so that, as the Iraqi Constitution requires, Jalal wouldn't be removed from office.

They lied to the country.  They deceived the Iraqi people.  They propped him up and posed him for pictures -- leading Arabic media to mock it as WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S -- but they couldn't offer video because he couldn't speak.

The first time was in May. Jalal was posed for a series of photos that appear to indicate his body was present but that was all.


The second set, months later, also showed Jalal posed with his right side to the camera.

The first set of photos led to comparisons to the film Weekend At Bernies (where two men use Bernie's corpse to pretend Bernie's still alive).  

Over 18 months later Jalal would return.  They wouldn't be able to use the return to pump up his party in elections because he couldn't speak.

In other words, the Talabani family lied to the Iraqi people, deceived them.  Iraq had a non-functioning president who should have been removed from office.  But the Talabanis lied to keep Jalal in a post he could not serve.

He never spoke in public again.  Not even when he returned to Iraq 18 months after his stroke.

In 2012,  Iraqi President Jalal Talabani suffered a stroke.   The incident took place late on December 17, 2012 (see the December 18th snapshot) and resulted in Jalal being admitted to Baghdad's Medical Center Hospital.    Thursday, December 20, 2012, he was moved to Germany.  He remained there for a year and a half.  He was incapacitated.  But the Talabani family lied to everyone so that, as the Iraqi Constitution requires, Jalal wouldn't be removed from office.

They lied to the country.  They deceived the Iraqi people.  They propped him up and posed him for pictures -- leading Arabic media to mock it as WEEKEND AT BERNIE'S -- but they couldn't offer video because he couldn't speak.

He never spoke in public again.  Not even when he returned to Iraq 18 months after his stroke.

He was not able to do any duties and he was not able to speak but the Talabani family lied to the press and to the people so that they could hold onto the position and the prestige.  They harmed Iraq in the process.  Iraq needed a real president.  It had none.  

The next election showed how much damage the Talabanis had done to the PUK and that's been true ever since.  In addition, you've got Jalal's sons showing up to try to tell the Kurds what to do.  They love that -- and who wouldn't?  One of Jalal's pampered sons who lives in the US and is married to an American woman returning to the Kurdistan to lecture them on how they shouldn't want independence for Kurdistan, lecturing them on how they shouldn't vote for it in a non-binding referendum.  

The Talabanis never grasp how disliked they have become.  Now the Barzanis -- of the KDP -- have been in power too long as well by my judgment.  And they're not perfect.  But they are more in step with the Kurdish people on the issues that matter -- including Kurdish independence.

  KURDISTAN 24 reports:


The Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) has emerged from Iraq's October parliamentary elections as the biggest party in Iraq following the Iraqi Independent High Election Commission's (IHEC) preliminary counting of all the votes. 

The KDP participated in the elections as a single party, not as part of any coalition, and won the most seats as a single party, making it the biggest single political party in all of Iraq. 

We'll continue to cover the elections but we started with the KDP because they are the real winners -- no other political party got as many seats.

Moving on to a blot.  A blot removed?

Noted War Criminal Colin Powell is dead and the world feels a little lighter as a result.  He lied to the United Nations.  He lied to the American people.  He's a liar.  Those aware of his record during Vietnam aren't at all surprised -- the late Robert Parry was the best at covering that.  

The Iraq War likely would not have taken place had it not been for Colin liar.  The press lined up behind him with a 'case closed' nonsense as they pushed the United States into war. 

I think Ava and I said everything that I'd want to say about Colin back in our 2005 piece for THIRD:

TV Review: Barbara and Colin remake The Way We Were

Remakes usually suck. That's a lesson ABC's 20/20 learned Friday when they starred Barbara Walters and Colin Powell in a remake of The Way We Were.

Walters lacks the star power of Barbra Streisand. So Katie's passion has been tempered (we're being polite). At the crux of the film were the questions of what is truth, what is right? They carry that over from Arthur Laurents' screenplay. But Walters lacks the dedication to convincingly play someone determined in pursuit of truth -- which appears to result in the character Katie, more or less, being written out of her own film. Call this remake The Way It Was.

Powell, like Robert Redford, is shown early on military drag. He models well, he just lacks Redford's ability to convincingly play a man torn between doing what others want and what he knows is right. They did keep the plot point of Hubbell's betrayal. Probably had to because without the testimony that destroys Hubbell, you have no story.

They've updated the testimony. Instead of naming names during the McCarthy period, Powell lies to the United Nations and the world. What they miss is the heart breaking scene when Streisand explains to Redford that people are their beliefs. Probably too much a laugh getter if it came out of Walters' mouth. But if they were worried about unintended laughs, someone should have spoken to Walters about the three strands of red, worry beads she's wearing.

Walters says, unable to look at him while she does -- oh the drama!, "However, you gave the world false, groundless reasons for going to war. You've said, and I quote, 'I will forever be known as the one who made the case for war.' Do you think this blot on your record will stay with you for the rest of your life?"

Powell: Well it's a, it's a, of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United Nations, uh, United States, to the world. And it will always be uh, part of my, uh, my record.
Walters: How painful is it?
Powell: (shrugs) It was -- it *was* painful. (shifts, shrugs) It's painful now.

Has a less convincing scene ever been performed?

Possibly. Such as when Powell informs Walters that the fault lies with the intelligence community -- with those who knew but didn't come forward. Unfortunately for Powell, FAIR's advisory steered everyone to a Los Angeles Times' article from July 15, 2004:

Days before Secretary of State Colin L. Powell was to present the case for war with Iraq to the United Nations, State Department analysts found dozens of factual problems in drafts of his speech, according to new documents contained in the Senate report on intelligence failures released last week.
Two memos included with the Senate report listed objections that State Department experts lodged as they reviewed successive drafts of the Powell speech. Although many of the claims considered inflated or unsupported were removed through painstaking debate by Powell and intelligence officials, the speech he ultimately presented contained material that was in dispute among State Department experts.

Well movies always rewrite some details to make the characters more sympathetic and, presumably, that happened in this remake as well.

Having dismissed the need for facts, the "reluctant warrior" Powell now wants to weigh in on the invasion/occupation. Powell explains that we can't "cut and run" with regards to Iraq. We have to stay. He offers that "I'm not a quitter" himself -- amidst his stay the course nonsense. All this from the former Secretrary of State.

If it's so damn important that we "accomplish" over there, that we "stay the course," are the words really convincing coming out the mouth of the cut and run Secretary of State? Seems to us if you believe in this war as much as you say you do, and believe in staying the course, you . . . stay the course in your job. Powell didn't. There are the Rules for Powell and there are the rules for the rest of us.

Take Cindy Sheehan. She's a grieving parent and he feels sorry for her. Walters actually wakes up for this moment. And, in one of the few times prior to Powell's wife being brought on, she actually looks him in the eye while delivering her line.

Walters: But if you feel the war is just -- that's a different feeling than if you feel the war is is not.
Powell: Well, of course, for the person that is effected, it is. If they don't feel the war is just, they will always feel it as a deep personal loss.

Unlike Powell, we'd argue that regardless of beliefs on this war, the loss is a "deep, personal loss" for most, possibly all, who've lost family members. Maybe if he sent fat-boy Michael over there, he could find out for himself what it feels like? Till then, by his remarks, he's not anyone effected. How nice that must be.

But is the war just?

It's not a moral issue for Powell. He's already informed Walters of that. He lied. Well if he had to lie, forget the pre-emptive war debate for a moment, if he had to lie, what does that say about the war? Seems to us that a just war wouldn't be a war that required you pulling one over on the public to get support for.

It wasn't a moral issue, Powell states, going to war. Then what does it matter that he lied?
If it's not a moral issue, then what does it matter?

Powell's mea culpa is not only unconvincing, it's illogical. He's glad Saddam Hussein's gone. So why's he concerned with his "blot?" He's completely unconcerned that we're in a war that's based on lies. "I'm glad" he says. Sure he admits that he lied (by proxy -- it's others faults, you understand, nameless people in the intel community), but there's no moral concern. He's only worried about the slug line that now accompanies his name. The "blot." The tag 'liar, liar.'

Colin Powell lied to the United Nations. Not by proxy, he lied. His testimony. A testimony he made the decision to give. Despite objections from people in the department he headed. His accountability pose is hollow and unconvincing. Shrugs? "What are you going to do?" shrugs? That and the shiftiness during the exchange (he can't sit still during the exchange) back up his words. This isn't any big deal to him, that he lied and we went to war. He's just concerned that he's a known liar. For the rest of his life.

This is how he wants to be remembered:

"A good public servant somebody who truly believes in his country. . . . Somebody who cared, somebody who served."

Yeah well, Nixon wanted to be remembered a certain way as well. Liar's the way many remember him now. Liar's the way many will remember Colin Powell. Belief in your country doesn't allow you to lie to your country. Belief in your Bully Boy does. That's something this adminstration fails to grasp. They all think they're working for the Bully Boy. Powell makes statements to that effect. He's full of many things including his "service" to the Bully Boy.
The administration is supposed to be working for the country. Presidents come and go. The nation is what is supposed to matter. Belief in your country would mean you tell the people
the truth.

Somebody who served?

He didn't serve the country. He betrayed it. He didn't live up to his office. He didn't live up to the public trust. He didn't live up to the principles of democracy. He lied. He lied. He lied.

We won't put the glossy spin on it that Walters did. We're not looking at Powell through the blind eyes of love.

As the film, er news segment, winds down, the makers decide to go another way. In the original The Way We Were, the child of Katie & Hubbell is seen only fleetingly. In the remake, she actually has lines. As military and infotainment merge, their by-product, the remake tell us, is Elizabeth Vargas. Child Vargas is left to make one of those uncomfortable points that children always make, "Colin Powell doesn't seem to be haunted by this blot on his career." Walters all but brushes a lock from Powell's forehead as she attempts to make Vargas see father Powell in

a more flattering, and far less realistic, light:

Well, you know, he is a, he is a fine soldier, he has a fine family, he has respect, and this is a man who never wanted the Glory Road.

The music fails to swell. Possibly because Walters is no singer and they rightly spare us her rendition of "The Way We Were." With apologies to Alan and Marilyn Bergman, we'll post the lyrics to the song Walters obviously wanted to sing:

In the place of real reporting.
Mushy soft focus moments
Not The Way It Was.

Unasked questions
Of the facts that are well known.
Facts that never will be buried
Of The Way It Was.

Can it be that spin can triumph fact
If we carefully rewrite each line.
If he had the choice to do it all again
He would -- he could.

May be full of lies and yet
If we push hard enough
Others will simply forget.

So it's the spin
We will hold onto
Whenever we discuss
The Way It Was.
The Way It Was.

*Corrected to put change "is" to "was." Change is indicated by "*."

From 9-13-05's "ABC 'fixes' Colin Powell" (The Common Ills):

When a magazine, even an entertainment one, puts Orpah's head (for instance) on another body, there's an outcry. It's not considered appropriate or up to journalistic standards.
So let's see if anyone has a problem with ABC news which has done something just as bad if not worse.
Robert Parry has a new article "Colin Powell Being Colin Powell" (Consortium News). It's a good article, a strong one (not uncommon with Parry's writing).It includes this:

In his first extensive interview since his resignation early this year, Powell told ABC News that his reputation has suffered because his assurances about Iraq's supposed stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons proved false.
"It's a blot," Powell said. "I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now."

That isn't correct. It's not Parry's mistake. He's using (and crediting) "Exclusive: Colin Powell on Iraq, Race, and Hurricane Relief" by "ABC News."

ABC broadcast the interview (conducted by Barbara Walters) on September 9th. (The article's dated September 8th when you use the link, September 9th when you utilize the print function.)Is it appropriate for ABC to improve on the public record?

Colin Powell did not say "Of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United States to the world, and [it] will always be a part of my record. It was painful. It's painful now."

Here's how that "quote" sounded before ABC News decided to "improve" on it and reassemble it:

Powell: Well it's a, it's a, of course it will. It's a blot. I'm the one who presented it on behalf of the United Nations, uh, United States, to the world. And it will always be uh, part of my, uh, my record.
Walters: How painful is it?
Powell: (shrugs) It was -- it *was* painful. (shifts, shrugs) It's painful now.

In ABC's "quote" they bracket "it." I have no idea why. He says "it." But they note, wrongly, that they are "adding" to the quote there. They do not note that they have deleted the stammers. They also leave out the "United Nations" and the fact that Walters asked him a question.

Why does it matter?

First of all, it matters because a news organization is supposed to be accurate.

Second of all, it matters because this is Powell addressing an issue. His mistakes (UN?), his stammers, all of it is important. ABC news presents it as a smooth, seamless response. That's not the case. He hemmed and he hawed. And the public should know that and the public record should show that.

Print reporters caught some attention for improving on Bully Boy's statments. This should catch attention as well.

Part of the "response" is how Powell structures his words.

Is he nervous? He may appear that way to some (Ava and I found him shifty when we watched the interview). This is public record. This was broadcast on national television. ABC does not have the right, journalistically, to 'smooth over' his remarks.

He was awkward when he spoke. That's part of his response -- or would be if ABC hadn't cleaned it up.

Ava and I reviewed the "performance" for The Third Estate Sunday Review (see "TV Review: Barbara and Colin remake The Way We Were").

The 'smoothed over' quote is not how it occurred.

Ava and I hold onto a copy of anything we review for at least seven days in case a question comes up. For instance on Smallville, surely, one person wrote, Tom Welling wasn't shirtless when Annette O'Toole remarked that he was dressed to go out, was he?We could be wrong. We watched it again. He was shirtless. At other times, someone will question if another character might have stated the line. So we'll watch again. We can make a mistake and we will correct it if we do. (More often than not, we're having to prove something to angry Nick Lachey fans or angry Nick & Jessica fans.) (After seven days, someone's waited too long to weigh in on a TV review. Unless it's something we've been provided with, we ditch whatever we've reviewed.)

Ava's in class but I called the apartment and Jim's there. He played back the interview. I can't say whether "It is painful. It's painful now." is what Powell said (as we noted) or if it's "It was painful. It's painful now" (as ABC notes). The connection wasn't clear enough for me to make out if "is" or "was" is used. [Note from Ava: I've listened to the interview. "Was" is the word and I've corrected that. Otherwise, C.I. and my version of the quote is accurate. I've put "*" around "was" to note that I've changed it. That is the only thing we're wrong on.]

But I could make out the "uh"s. I could make out Walter's question. I could make out Powell stating "United Nations."

Was he nervous? Did he intend to say "United Nations"?

Presenting it, as ABC news does, in a smooth, seamless quote is not reflecting the public record. It is, however, once again cleaning up after Powell.

In our review, Ava and I noted that it played like a really bad remake of The Way We Were. We note this:

As the film, er news segment, winds down, the makers decide to go another way. In the original The Way We Were, the child of Katie & Hubbell is seen only fleetingly. In the remake, she actually has lines. As military and infotainment merge, their by-product, the remake tell us, is Elizabeth Vargas. Child Vargas is left to make one of those uncomfortable points that children always make, "Colin Powell doesn't seem to be haunted by this blot on his career." Walters all but brushes a lock from Powell's forehead as she attempts to make Vargas see father Powell in a more flattering, and far less realistic, light:

Well, you know, he is a, he is a fine soldier, he has a fine family, he has respect, and this is a man who never wanted the Glory Road.
The music fails to swell. Possibly because Walters is no singer and they rightly spare us her rendition of "The Way We Were."

What they couldn't do when people were watching with their own eyes, ABC does in their "report." There's no excuse for what they have posted online. That's not what happened, that's not the way it happened.

It does present Powell in a more flattering light. It does eliminate his starts and stops, his stammer, his use of "United Nations." As p.r., it's fine. As journalism it's not fine. Journalism doesn't allow the public record to be 'polished.'

Update 12-5-2010. We've fixed the FAIR link.

The following sites updated:




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }